The grass rope in Shao Xuan’s hands quickly knotted together.
Duo Kang and Guang Yi looked nervously at Shao Xuan, waiting for an answer.
Shao Xuan interpreted the ropes and relaxed. “Two days later should be a good day to leave.”
Shao Xuan interpreted the knots formed from his rope divination. Two days later was a good day to leave.
Winter was coming to an end. They couldn’t wait till winter was over to leave. If they did, many of the beasts in hibernation would have woken up. These beasts were a lot faster than them, so it was better for them to leave earlier.
“I’ll go inform the Longboat and Taihe tribe,” Duo Kang jumped up excitedly from the beast hide he was laying on and rushed out the house. He went to look for the chief of the Longboat tribe, Mu Fa. After all, he had to convince them if they wanted to leave.
The Longboat tribe was skilled in telling the signs in the sky. Before, they were usually the ones who made the final decision on these matters, but now, all the Flaming Horns were more inclined towards Shao Xuan’s suggestion, and even Mu You, who was skilled in telling the signs amongst the Longboat tribesmen, didn’t complain after he heard Shao Xuan’s decision, so they decided to follow as Shao Xuan proposed.
“Then it’s set! We’ll leave in two days. Spread the word so everyone knows!” Mu Fa was also eager to leave.
After Duo Kang informed Mu Fa, he went over to tell the Taihe tribe about their decision.
Suddenly, the camping ground was full of excitement. It was like a herd of animals waking up from hibernation, ready to move.
On the day of departure, the sky was initially dark and cloudy but it suddenly became sunny. Even though they couldn’t see the moon at night and winter wasn’t officially over, it was coming to an end. The weather was rarely so nice, so it made people feel as if winter had left early.
“Get the ships ready, we’re departing!”
They broke the layer of ice on the coast so their ships wouldn’t be hindered by the ice. Even if the ice was thick, the section farther away from the coast or near the crocodile river was not frozen, so it wasn’t that big of a problem for them.
There were twenty-five ships, and each of these ships carried about a hundred Taihe tribesmen. Some ships had more people while others had fewer. There were five more ships, so they didn’t have to squeeze. Besides the Taihe tribesmen, there were also other resources stored on the ships.
Amongst the twenty-five ships, these five looked very different compared to the other twenty. They were test-ships designed by Mu Fa and a few talented and skilled individuals from the Longboat tribe. These ships looked a lot sturdier and fancier than the others. They even had projection windows designed to station archers and spear throwers.
Mu Fa didn’t spend too much time designing these five ships because they were merely made for testing. The wood used to make these ships didn’t go through all of the processing and due to the time limitation, they couldn’t do a perfect job on these ships.
Usually, they would sun-dry the wood or use a kiln to dry the wood before it was used, but there were no kilns here, so Mu Fa decided to use the smoke from firewood to dry it. This was a much simpler method, but because they were not familiar with the foreign wood in the beginning, they wasted quite a lot of wood. After they gained some experience however, this no longer happened. At most, the wood would appear darker. This was why these five ships seemed darker compared to the other twenty ships.
They didn’t look nice, but they served their purpose.
Of course, even if they smoke-dried these wood, the conditions here didn’t allow them to reach Mu Fa’s expectations. Their case was different now too. There was too much wood and they were rushing to leave, so they didn’t have too much time to focus on drying the wood. These ships couldn’t last for too long, but it could at least bring them back to the other continent.
In the future if they went out to sea again with a greater fleet, they would find a suitable place to build a giant camping ground with large kilns to dry the wood used to build ships.
Mu Fa was enthusiastic and wanted to return as soon as possible. He wanted to tell the people in his tribe that they were the first team who went out to explore. This time, fewer people came compared to the usual number that went on expedition trips. After this trip, everything would be different. They would begin to shift their focus as a tribe and fight less with the other tribes inland. They didn’t have time for such things anymore.
The future of marine trade was up to them, the Longboat tribe!
The Taihe tribe took one last glance at the continent their ancestors had settled on since the establishment of their tribe. They felt strong emotions but it only lasted for a while. Their tribe had a merged fire seed, so it was common for them to migrate frequently. They would be reluctant to leave a place at first, but their emotions wouldn’t linger for too long. As long as they knew they would live a better life by leaving, their emotions would fade away quickly.
They had more people on the ships now, so they couldn’t survive by relying merely on the stock they had on the ships. Whenever they had time, the people would catch smaller fish in the sea. Sometimes they used nets and other times they used fishing rods.
They prepared enough medicine beforehand just in case anyone got sick on the ships. Shao Xuan had reminded Mu Fa about this before they departed, so Mu Fa was quite grateful towards Shao Xuan for this. After all, the Longboat tribe had enough experience on the rivers inland but not out at sea.
It was just like when they came. When they returned, they encountered bad weather, and many of the Taihe tribe felt unwell. They could only depend on medicines after a few days of seasickness.
Qing Yi would sometimes go underwater. Even though the seawater was cold, he was already used to the temperature. Before they departed, he had swum in the frozen rivers and sea, so this wasn’t hard at all for him. The only things he had to watch out for were the dangerous creatures in the sea.
Today was another sunny day.
The sea was still considerably calm, just a few gentle breezes now and then.
An eagle’s cry came from the sky and shocked Shao Xuan, who was looking at his map. He took his binoculars and climbed up the mast to take a look at what was ahead.
“What happened?” Mu Fa asked.
There was only one pair of binoculars. Even if Mu Fa had good eyesight, he couldn’t see as far as the great mountain eagle or the binoculars.
Shao Xuan looked far away through the binoculars. He didn’t see any dangerous sea beasts, but he noticed a lot of crushed pieces of…… ice!
“There’s a lot of ice up ahead, watch out!”
There were no icebergs nearby, and no one knew exactly where those pieces of ice came from. They were of all sizes and there were a lot of them, but most of them had already begun to melt. Since they were melting, they wouldn’t be much of a threat to their ships.
Mu Fa ordered for them to slow down. As they approached the ice, he noticed creatures inside!
He took a net and scooped up the ice from the sea. He examined it closely and noticed that they were just beetle-like insects. He didn’t know what kind of insects they were. He had never seen insects like these before.
In the past, Mu Fa wouldn’t show any interest in these beetles, but it was different this time. These insects were in the sea!
Who knew if they actually belonged in the sea?
They don’t look like it?
How would they know if these didn’t come from the sea?
“Scoop them up, scoop them all up! Bring it back so our tribesmen can take a close look at what we found!” Mu Fa hesitated, as if he thought of something, and then yelled over at Shao Xuan, “It’s all mine! Don’t you even think about it!”
The Flaming Horns were initially not interested, but seeing Mu Fa’s reaction, their interest was suddenly sparked.
Duo Kang pointed at what seemed like frozen creatures preserved in ice and yelled at some other Flaming Horns, “Scoop some up too! I want to see what they are!”